My Name was Supposed to be Elizabeth Ann

— Stories from the Roads (Not) Taken

… strolling hunched and sandalled along the highway berm. His right hand clutched a blanket ‘round his shoulders. His left, a cigarette whose smoke wafted through my car’s open window. I cat-sneezed, but he kept on walking. Didn’t say god bless. Just shrank inside my mirrors as  I slowed and braked for red.

Tuesday, I’d seen him at the lifer rally, red-faced and preaching hellfire as news cameras panned the crowd. Monday, preaching carry rights and anti-facts. One nation about him, not US, while disciples swallowed Kool-aid lies and propagated death. Never saw him while at homes or shelters, neverminding schoolyards where our babies, overfed with suffering and hate, dry-heaved hope like bitter pills.

Wednesday, I told the Universe I feel like Atlas. World-crushed, soul-weary. Why even bother?

The light blinked green. Impatient drivers honked.

Because, the Universe answered.

I accelerated:

That Jesus ain’t my savior. 

I believe in LOVE.

*****

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